Category Archives: ICD Homepage

ICD undergraduate receives Fulbright Award

Sydney Carlson
Sydney Carlson

Sydney Carlson, a senior majoring in child psychology in the Institute of Child Development, has been awarded a Fulbright-related U.S. teaching assistantship by the Austrian government.

Carlson is among 13 students and alumni from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to be awarded a Fulbright grant during the 2017-18 academic year.

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 to promote international good will through the exchange of students and scholars. The program awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries.

When she returns from Austria, Carlson plans to pursue an M.A. and specialist certificate in education and school psychological services from the Department of Educational Psychology.

ICD undergraduate Erica Smolinski receives research fellowship

Erica Smolinski
Erica Smolinski

Erica Smolinski, an undergraduate child psychology student in the Institute of Child Development (ICD), has received a $2,000 fellowship from the International Congress on Infant Studies (ICIS). This is the first year ICIS has awarded grants to support undergraduate student research.

The fellowship will support Smolinski’s summer research project, which will examine differences in how mothers imagine their unborn child and their relationship with the child, as well as how family planning may be associated with these differences. The project will leverage data from the Women and Infants Study of Health, Emotions, and Stress (WISHES), a study led by ICD doctoral student Colleen Doyle. Smolinski will be mentored by Megan Gunnar, Ph.D., director of the Institute.

ICD doctoral student Madelyn Labella honored with P.E.O. scholarship

Madelyn Labella
Madelyn Labella

Madelyn Labella, a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of Child Development, has been selected to receive a P.E.O. Scholar Award. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women. Labella was nominated for the P.E.O. Scholar Award by Chapter R of St. Paul, Minn., and was one of 100 doctoral students from across the U.S. and Canada selected to receive a $15,000 scholarship.

CEHD research on the development of autism featured in Spectrum

L-R: Jed Elison, Jason Wolff

Jason Wolff, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, was recently featured in a Spectrum article about his research using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in infants whose older siblings have autism. Wolff worked with a national team of researchers, including Jed Elison from the Institute for Child Development, on the study. Wolff and colleagues found that the development of specific brain circuits may predict the severity of repetitive and sensory behaviors in infants who later develop autism.

In the article, Spectrum explains, “repetitive behaviors, such as hand flapping, are a cardinal sign of autism”, and “children with these severe repetitive behaviors often also have unusual sensory features, such as sensitivities to sounds or textures or an insensitivity to pain.”

Wolff expands on this. “They both (repetitive behaviors and unusual sensory features) seem to share a similar relationship with underlying neural circuitry,” he says.

Read the full article.

ICD doctoral student Elizabeth Sharer awarded fellowship from Autism Science Foundation

Elizabeth Sharer Headshot
Elizabeth Sharer

Elizabeth Sharer, a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of Child Development, has received a $25,000 one-year, pre-doctoral fellowship from the Autism Science Foundation (ASF).

This year, ASF awarded three pre-doctoral and six post-doctoral fellowship grants to student and mentor teams conducting research in deep brain stimulation, gene and environmental interactions, epigenetics, pain response, neurobiology, and sex differences in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“Each of the projects selected for funding has the potential to improve the lives of people with autism,” said Autism Science Foundation President Alison Singer. “We are pleased to support the work of this impressive group of young scientists and look forward to the progress that will be made as a result of their efforts.”

For her research, Sharer will examine the female protective effect in infants with ASD. Four times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with autism, and evidence suggests a “female protective effect” as one explanation for the sex bias.

Sharer’s study will be the first study to investigate the female protective effect in infants who show behaviors of concern, compared with those who develop typically and those who are later diagnosed with ASD. Sharer will be mentored by ICD Assistant Professor Jed Elison, Ph.D.

Williams Ridge presents at Children & Nature Network annual conference

Headshot of Sheila Williams Ridge
Sheila Williams Ridge

Sheila Williams Ridge, director of the Shirley G. Moore Lab School in the Institute of Child Development, presented at the 2017 Children & Nature Network (C&NN) International Conference and Summit.

C&NN aims to connect children, families, and communities to nature through innovative ideas and evidence-based resources. The theme for the 2017 conference was, “Kids Need Nature, Nature Needs Kids.”

During the conference, Williams Ridge spoke about tailoring outdoor learning opportunities to children’s specific developmental needs, depending on their age. She also moderated a panel about best practices for nature-based learning in the early childhood field.

CE+HD Connect Magazine highlights CEED research on children’s theater program

A recent article in CE+HD Connect magazine discussed research by the Center for Early Education and Development that is examining the effectiveness of a children’s theater program. The story is one of three articles about play that appear in the magazine’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue.

Early Bridges is a preschool theater arts outreach program developed by the Minneapolis-based Children’s Theatre Company (CTC). Early Bridges aims to build early literacy through interactive storytelling and theater arts.

Through a research collaboration with CTC, CEED evaluates Early Bridges’ impact, such as whether students show improvement in certain areas. CEED also has helped develop new measures and rubrics for the program, which incorporate both theater arts and child development theory.

To learn more about Early Bridges and CEED’s research, read the full story, “Setting the stage for learning,” or register for ICD’s Community Symposium on “The Importance of Play for Learning.” The symposium will take place on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center.

Shirley G. Moore Lab School featured in CE+HD Connect Magazine

The Shirley G. Moore Lab School in the Institute of Child Development was profiled in a recent article in CE+HD Connect magazine, which highlighted the school’s focus on play-based learning. The story is one of three articles about play that appear in the magazine’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue.

To learn more about the Shirley G. Moore Lab School and how it incorporates play into its curriculum, read the full story, “Play lab,” or register for ICD’s Community Symposium on “The Importance of Play for Learning.” The symposium will take place on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center.

 

Masten speaks at UN Psychology Day

Dr. Ann Masten
Dr. Ann Masten

Ann Masten,  Ph.D., Regents Professor and Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development in the Institute of Child Development, spoke at the 10th Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations (UN) on April 20, 2017.

Psychology Day at the UN is an annual event that highlights how psychological science and practice contribute to the UN agenda. It’s attended by UN staff, ambassadors and diplomats, non-governmental organizations, members of the public and private sectors, and other stakeholders.

This year’s theme was “Promoting Well-being in the 21st Century: Psychological Contributions for Social, Economic, and Environmental Challenges.” The topic was chosen to align with the inclusion of well-being in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted in 2015 and outlines the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In her remarks, Masten addressed the economic pillar by discussing her research on competence, risk, and resilience in development.

Thompson receives award for excellence in early childhood education

Ross Thompson

Ross Thompson, M.Ed., a teaching specialist at the Institute of Child Development’s Shirley G. Moore Lab School, has received the 2017 Kate Davidson Tanner Award from the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children (MnAEYC).

MnAEYC is a professional association devoted to representing early child care and youth programs across Minnesota. The annual award recognizes an early childhood professional who demonstrates excellence in his or her profession.

In 2005, Thompson started his career at the lab school, where he completed his student teaching experience and held various roles for the following two years. He has been a full-time lead teacher for the school’s multi-age morning preschool class since 2007.

CE+HD Connect Magazine spotlights ICD research on play

Research conducted by faculty in the Institute of Child Development (ICD) is demonstrating the importance of play for learning, according to a new article in CE+HD’s Connect magazine. The story is one of three articles about play that appear in the magazine’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue.

The article highlighted a recent study by Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in ICD, and colleagues that examined the “Batman Effect,” or how impersonating superheroes during pretend play can help children be more controlled and objective.

The piece also discussed how experts at the Minnesota Children’s Museum are incorporating ICD research into their exhibit and experience designs. The university is part of a research advisory committee for the museum.

To learn more about how play impacts learning and how the Minnesota Children’s Museum is putting research into practice, read the full story, “The power of play,” or register for ICD’s Community Symposium on “The Importance of Play for Learning.” The symposium will take place on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center.